Greece Has Reopened Its Borders To Foreign Visitors
Greece has officially reopened its borders to some foreign visitors since July 2020. However, after experiencing a surge of Covid-19 cases early this year, the country has to impose strict measures, requiring visitors to undergo testing or quarantine, depending on which country they came from.
Tourism accounts for about a quarter of Greece’s economy. Thus, Greek authorities would like to invite visitors back into the country while ensuring the safety of everybody.
Greece continues to allow the entry of tourists while keeping in place some strict entry restrictions due to the pandemic situation. If you are planning to travel to Greece soon, here’s everything you need to know.
Which Countries Can Travel to Greece?
Since May 14, 2021, Greece has opened its borders to travelers coming from several countries around the world who wish to visit the country as tourists. Authorities are hoping to revive the country’s travel and tourism sector that has been badly affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Travelers coming from within the European Union and Schengen Area countries can enter with no restrictions. Aside from all EU/Schengen countries, Greece is also allowing restriction-free entry for travelers from third countries that have recently reported low cases of Covid-19 infections.
Here’s a list of countries whose citizens and residents can enter Greece restriction-free:
- All EU/Schengen Area countries
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
Travelers coming from any other country outside the EU/Schengen Area or any third country that was not on the list above will not be allowed to enter Greece as tourists at the moment.
For travelers coming from Russia, they are required to present a negative result of a Covid-19 PCR test taken up to 72 hours before arrival into the country, or a negative antigen test that was taken up to 48 hours before arrival, regardless if they have been vaccinated or not.
Greek authorities have also announced that all arrivals from Montenegro should present both a vaccination certificate and a negative Covid-19 test result, taken no longer than 72 hours before arrival.
Travelers from the United States are now allowed to enter Greece as tourists after they have been banned for more than a year. They will be subject to the same requirements as citizens of the other third-countries that are permitted entry.
What Are the Restrictions for Visiting Greece?
Before entry into Greece, all travelers are required to fill in the Passenger Locator Form, at least a day before their arrival into the country. The form requires passengers to submit detailed information on their departure location, duration of stays in other countries, and other important details. This form can also be found on the Visit Greece app and at travel.gov.gr. It is also recommended that all travelers download the Visit Greece app (GDPR compliant) prior to their arrival in Greece.
All travelers coming from countries listed above will be allowed entry into the country if they provide any of the following documents:
- A certificate proving that they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 – It should at least be 14 days since the second dose of the vaccine was taken in order to be allowed entry into the country. The vaccines that Greek authorities will accept are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca-Oxford, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac Biotech, Sputnik V, Cansino Biologics, and Sinopharm. The vaccination certificate should indicate the traveler’s name, the type of vaccine that has been administered, the number of vaccine doses injected, as well as the date of administration.
- Proof of a negative COVID-19 test result – the test must not be older than 72 hours when entering Greece. Kids under the age of six do not need to undergo testing.
- Certificate proving recovery from the virus in the past nine months – the recovery certificate must be issued by a public authority or any certified lab. Travelers can also submit a positive PCR test result, taken at least two months before entry and no later than nine months before arrival into the country.
All of the documents mentioned above should contain key identification information including the full name of the passenger, which should match with what’s on the passport and other recognized travel document.
Travelers can also submit a Digital COVID-19 Passport in order to be permitted entry to the country, either in electronic or paper form.
Regardless of the certificate that the traveler will present upon arrival, they will be subject to random health screening through a targeted sampling system. If chosen, the traveler must undergo a rapid antigen test. Anyone who refuses to cooperate will be denied entry into the country. Those who test positive will be asked to quarantine at designated hotels and will further undergo health checks while in isolation. They must stay isolated for at least ten days. All expenses will be covered by Greek authorities.
What’s Open in Greece?
Archaeological sites in Greece will be operating on extended summer hours, from 8 AM to 8 PM, to prevent overcrowding. To maintain social distancing, only a limited number of visitors will be allowed to enter at every site. There are demarcations at the entrances and exits and Plexiglas screens are installed at some sites, such as in Propylaea on the Acropolis. All visitors are required to wear protective masks, and carrying of alcohol-based sanitizers onsite is highly encouraged.
Beaches are open as well, but only 40 people will be allowed in every 1,000 square meters. An entrance/exit count is being carried out to ensure that this measure is being followed. Umbrellas must be four meters away from each other and each umbrella can only provide shade for a maximum of two loungers. But this rule will not apply to families with kids.
Beach bars can serve food items and beverages in a package and take-away services are highly encouraged. Alcohol can be sold but must not be served to customers inside the bar to prevent the gathering of large crowd.
When shopping in Greece, you may have to wait a few minutes before you enter the shops. Smaller shops that are about 20 square meters in size must only accommodate 4 people at a time. Bigger stores that are more than 100 square meters can welcome up to 12 shoppers at a time. Employees and customers should maintain a distance of at least 1.5 meters away from each other while inside the store premises. There are also markings on the floor to maintain safe distances when queuing.
All establishments have information signs that will remind people to follow safety measures and hygiene rules. Customers are encouraged to pay electronically and there are sanitizer gels beside every cash register.
Indoor and outdoor seating areas are now permitted at all restaurants across the country. Servers are wearing facemasks and a minimum distance of 70cm to 170cm is maintained in every table. However, these restrictions will not apply to families with kids.
The airport has hand sanitizer dispensers all over the place. Plexiglas panels were installed for added protection on areas where employee interaction is necessary, such as in the information counters and ticket desks.
Check out Greece for more detailed restriction/reopening information from our live map.